1.) Prediction: Los Angeles wins the National League pennant.
The Los Angeles Dodgers may very well be the best team in Major League Baseball. Granted the Dodgers played the abysmal San Diego Padres in their opening series, but as of Thursday morning, Los Angeles had yet to surrender a single run. Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 9 K, 0.29 WHIP) looks like the clear cut best pitcher in baseball and the offense is firing on all cylinders. Yasiel Puig has already displayed some of his power this year, while Los Angeles has already scored 25 runs in three games.
2.) Prediction: Boston doesn’t make the playoffs with its current pitching staff.
Boston still hasn’t proven that they have the pitching staff to go anywhere. As of Thursday morning, the Sox are 1-1. David Price pitched in the season-opener and looked like everything Boston fans had hoped he would be. Price outdueled Indians ace Corey Kluber, pitching six innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out 10. Unfortunately, the next night Clay Buchholz looked like a liability on the mound. Buchholz was in trouble all night and Boston lost despite putting six runs on the board. After Buchholz, it doesn’t get much better as Joe Kelly, Rick Porcello and Steven Wright have still not earned Sox fans’ trust.
3.) Prediction: Carlos Correa wins American League MVP.
Bryce Harper and Mike Trout may take a backseat come the end of this year. That sounds crazy as Trout, a four-time All-Star and one-time MVP, hit .299 last year with 41 homeruns and 90 RBIs, while Harper, a three-time All-Star and one-time MVP, hit .286 with 42 homeruns and 99 RBIs. While these guys are no doubt great players, the MLB may have a new face and best player on its hands down in the Lone Star State. The Houston Astros have put Carlos Correa on display at shortstop and the 21-year old has not disappointed. Correa entered Thursday hitting .556 with three homeruns and four RBIs in just two games.
4.) Prediction: Seattle wins the American League West.
The American League West winner will be a team that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2001. In that year, rookie sensation Ichiro led the Seattle Mariners to the playoffs – they haven’t been back since. This year’s Mariners team is led by Robinson Cano, who hasn’t been exactly what Seattle fans were expecting when he signed, and Felix Hernandez, who has earned every ounce of his nickname – King Felix. Hernandez pitched on Opening Day and despite taking the loss, he allowed only one earned run. The next two games, Seattle scored 19 runs and won both of them convincingly. Cano has belted four homeruns in three games and looks like the Cano Red Sox fans loved to hate in New York.
5.) Prediction: This will not be the only time this year that the “Chase Utley rule” affects the outcome of a game.
Rule 6.01(j) didn’t take very long to have its effects felt in the MLB. The rule, referred to as the “Chase Utley rule,” came into play in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s Blue Jays-Rays game. With the bases loaded and one out, Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion came up with his team trailing 3-2. He hit a ground ball to the left side. Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe received the throw and looked to turn a double play to end the game, but his errant throw got away and two Blue Jays came into score, giving Toronto a 4-3 lead. When the play was challenged, the umpires determined Jose Bautista did indeed break Rule 6.01(j) by changing the path of his slide, forcing Forsythe to throw it away. The call was changed and ruled a double play and the Rays won 3-2.